November was an intense travel month for University of Utah Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion office. In addition to my travel to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting, I travelled to Phoenix Arizona to the 50th Annual North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) conference. Normally, this conference is not on my agenda because we present much of our equity, diversity, and inclusion work in other conferences. However, this year, and all years following, I will be attending. In early 2021, I was named Associate Editor at Annals of Family Medicine, the number one primary care journal in the the world. This opportunity has been incredible for me, and has put me in contact with editors of all the leading Family Medicine journals. It has also allowed me to have a voice in what gets published and helps to magnify the voices of those marginalized or historically excluded in medicine.
Annals of Family Medicine has their annual board meeting at the NAPCRG conference. This year, however, we also had some additional meetings. The first was a meeting with the editors of other family medicine journals. We met with the editor of American Family Physician (AFP), Dr. Sumi Sexton, the editor of The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (JABFM); Dr. Marjorie Bowman, the editor of Family Medicine (FM); Dr. Sarina Schrager, the editor of Peer-reviewed Reports in Medical Education Research (PRiMER); Dr. Christopher Morely, and the editor of Annals of Family Medicine (AFM); Dr. Caroline Richardson, as well as the chief executive officer of FPIN: the Family Physicians Inquiries Network and the publisher of Evidence Based Practice (EBP) LuShawna Gerdes. Together we discussed the issues facing all of us—the lack of reviewers and the struggles to get good content for our journals. We also discussed ways in which we could collaborate, specifically around equity, diversity, and inclusion. There were many ideas shared, and a few of them will be addressed in 2023, using some existing structures in one journal to supplement efforts in others. In addition, three of the journals have hired associate editors for equity, diversity, and inclusion: Dr. Renee Critchlow at AFP, Dr. Octavia Amaechi at FM, and I have the privilege of serving AFM in that capacity.
There were extraordinary plenary sessions at this conference; sessions and speakers are available on the NAPCRG website. I was very pleased to see that one of the presenters, Dr. Susan Pacheco, was also Puerto Rican, and sharing how we as physicians can reduce our individual and collective negative impact on our planet’s changing climate. She was extraordinary!
I was involved in two different workshops at the NAPCRG. The first dealt with difficult decisions that editors must make, entitled, “Conundrums in Journal Reviewing: Getting to Best Practices that Value Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Expertise.“ In that discussion, we addressed areas where we could all improve in ensuring that the diversity of our profession was well represented in our discipline. It was a standing-room-only event, which was very gratifying to the presenters.
I was also involved in an additional presentation entitled, “Anti-Racism in Family Medicine Research.” This was a conceptual presentation, where we shared what AFM is doing to incorporate anti-racism into primary care research. Much of the presentation was based on Dr. Elle Lett’s landmark paper, “Conceptualizing, Contextualizing, and Operationalizing Race in Quantitative Health Sciences Research.” While there were experts in the room explaining how we can get better at anti-racism in publishing, it was acknowledged that even with our expertise, our practices have a long way to go, just to catch up to the best practices in anti-racism in research. This was also a full house, and represents the first time I have participated in two presentations where there were more people than seats.
Overall, it was a truly magnificent conference. I am fortunate to have attended and presented and I look forward to next year’s meeting in San Francisco on October 30, 2023.